This is an extract from the show 'A Very Unique Gift', performed on December 3rd+4th 2017 in UFERSTUDIOS, Berlin.
Camera: Hikaru Suzuki
A Very Unique Gift:
Concept, choreography, performance:
Performance and artistic accomplices:
Jelena Alempijević and Alice Chauchat
Katherine Evans and Siegmar Zacharias
Light and set design:
Hanna Kritten Tangsoo
Alice Chauchat and Siegmar Zacharias
Duration: 60 minutes
About the scene:
"In his essay On Postmodern Uses of Sex (2016) Zygmunt Bauman discusses the evolution of the notion of ‘human capacity’. How to be efficient and useful in a sensational society where seduction has become an ordinary strategy for success. He describes the fundamental difference between the will to be ‘healthy’, balanced, and the will to be ‘fit’, meaning desirable, requiring ‘something more’; stronger, bigger, sexier, wealthier, etc. Just as with the chewing gum, the material at play in this scene proceeds with the logic of ‘more is more’.
The curtain opens and with it the space of the theatre in its full length. A big tribune lit from below appears, the performer is sitting alone in front of it on a rolling office chair. The voices projected in space come from a self-optimization sound material found on YouTube, based on 'super charged positive affirmation' ('Rockstar Affirmations'). It is an auto-persuasion method, the aim of which is to convince oneself of being granted super-natural powers, of being 'chosen', controlling one's own destiny. There is a completely paradoxical aspect to these positive affirmation techniques, made by others in order to be self-imposed.
This scene convokes the figure of the buffoon (the jester, the fool), the 'dark-side of the clown', that provokes with unpleasant jokes, that dares to glare, to 'give the evils'.1
Exhibiting her 'alpha-male crutch', the performer has a mission to 'manspread' the audience to the tribune. Here a situation is created; this is a game of will, staging relations of power, and the risk for the performer is high that the audience resists the situation of being chased.
When the public is finally seated, the performer slowly stands on their own feet and starts to dance.
Moving as if every cell is in its right place. Not as if mastering a technique, but as the master.
As if immortal. ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’. Moving 'with' perfection, 'with' the Superio, an unbreakable confidence. Arrogate the Tyrant's power. Posing. A dance of un-settled expressions and gestures. ‘Dancing like chewing gum’: always contained in one single body but never the same. Moving as pressured, with pressure, extending, stretching, and at the same time never exploding, always remaining in transit. Showing off continuously in a continuous hallucination.
In an interview for France Culture about his book Exposed, Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age (2015)2, Bernard Harcourt presents his idea of today's society as being the ‘society of exposure’3. His main point is that the society of exposure is not just a society in which one is being exposed, but a society in which one voluntarily exposes itself. Our desires are being exacerbated with the 'like’ and 'share' systems. Is this an incorporating machine of our narcissistic desires? Narcissism is indeed the myth of the deadly Image, the incorporating image of the Self in the Self.
Zymunt Bauman writes:
The present-day liquidized evil is hidden from sight and avoids being spotted, as well as recognition for what it is and what it portends. Liquid evil has the awesome capacity for effective disguises and for recruiting human -all too human- concerns and desires to its service under false -yet exceedingly difficult to debunk and falsify- pretences. To add offence to the injury, quite a few recruits are seduced into volunteering. (Bauman, 2016: viii) "